Monkey breeding plans
- From medialertsIndependentwww.independent.co.uk09 December 2002Secret plan to breed monkeys for Porton Down researchBy Marie Woolf, Chief Political CorrespondentA primate breeding centre to give scientists access to live monkeys forexperiments is to be established at the taxpayer's expense at the militaryresearch centre Porton Down in Wiltshire, The Independent has learned.The centre, where macaque monkeys will be bred for experimentation, will beset up by the Medical Research Council (MRC), a government agency, despitevocal opposition. The move has angered animals rights activists who want tohold the Government to its promise not to increase the level of testing onanimals.Government sources say that ministers are seeking to "guarantee" a supply ofmonkeys for experimental purposes and that they "refuse to be put off" bythe outcry over an application by Cambridge University to build a �24mprimate brain research centre or by long-running protests against researchby Huntingdon Life Sciences. The Porton Down centre, which will open nextsummer, will be housed in the high-security Defence Science and TechnologyLaboratory, where medical counter measures for biological agents aredeveloped. The monkeys are expected to be used by research teams at thecentre and around the country.Last night, anti-vivisection organisations questioned whether the monkeys atPorton Down would be used in experiments concerning chemical and biologicalwarfare tests to help develop vaccines in response to the 11 Septemberterrorist attacks. They accused the Government of reneging on a promisebefore the 1997 election to reduce the number of live animals used inexperiments.The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) said theestablishment of a breeding centre dedicated to supplying monkeys toscientists would increase their use and set back plans to find alternatives.Sarah Kite, of the union, said: "This new government-supported secret monkeyfarm will simply increase the already controversial use of primates inresearch. This is an outrageous betrayal of the British people who were ledto believe that this Government had a commitment to reduce animalexperiments."The opening of this primate breeding farm in the UK will inevitably resultin a surplus of lab monkeys who will then be touted around universities likeleft-over stock."The MRC, which funds research into treatments for diseases includingAlzheimer's, said the animals would be treated humanely and would not belent to commercial companies for experiments.A spokesman said: "It's a facility for the care and housing of monkeys. Theyare opening it in the second quarter of next year. They are macaques. Theyare going to be used for academic medical research. It is not for industrialor commercial use. The facility will operate to the best possible standardsin academic research."Macaques are favoured by scientists for experimentation because of theirgenetic likeness to humans. They are already used for brain experiments inthe UK.One MRC-funded piece of research into the roles of transmitter chemicals inthe brain involved sawing off the top of a monkey's skull, injecting toxinsin to the brain, or removing an area of it - usually by suction - and thenrefitting the top of the skull over the damaged brain.Scientists developing treatments for disorders including Parkinson's,schizophrenia and autism believe there is no alternative to experimenting onmonkeys. Some have threatened to move their research abroad if they aredenied access to tests on primates.But critics believe that many monkeys are used unnecessarily wherealternatives are available and have called for a tightening of theregulations. MEPs voted recently to ban the use of wild primates and toreview the use of all monkeys in experiments. It is not known if macaquesfor the laboratory will be wild or bred from existing captive populations.Correspondence:letters@... website:The Absurdity of vivisectionhttp://vivisection-absurd.org.uk/Information on animal research available free by EMail from vivisectionkills@...
"Live in peace with the animals. Animals bring love to our hearts, and warmth to our souls."
"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." Immanuel Kant
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